Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This morning, the woman who now owns my favorite cafe had a tall glass of vanilla chai waiting for me when I came in and sat down in the windowseat. She asked how the writing has been going and I smiled, thinking of my poetry group meeting last night where my friends there were reveling in my fellowship win with me...people who were strangers to me a year ago but now cheer on my every effort. We are a mismatched group in terms of age and life experiences...but there is something intuitive they seem to understand about my process that makes any differences irrelevant. Plus, they see me as a creative spirit--in fact, know me as nothing else. In our lives, we are all viewed according to our "roles" and "jobs", according to the old stories our families or friends tell about our background and is unusual to be noticed for our creative work alone. Like the cafe woman handing over the tea and the acknowledgement earlier, I am being witnessed as a writer. I feel the subtle difference--the way the process is in motion for me.

This weekend, a few of us will meet up at a writer's conference by the sea and immerse ourselves in words for two (and a half) luxurious days. Next week this time, I will be getting ready to attend a "Reception to meet the 2008 Individual Artist Fellowship Recipients" in an art museum an hour from home. I am nervous and excited to see the other winners for the year and to hear about their projects. I will be *seen* as a writer all over again by a room full of strangers...With book one completed and in process with final revision work, I have started reading over the 100+ pages I already wrote for book two. There has been just enough time and distance from the material that I can consider it objectively, like the words aren't even the concept for the story wasn't even generated in my mind. But, it was...and it is SO different from the first I cannot even say. With a full-time teaching gig coming my way within the next five months, I told myself at my cafe table, "Well then, that gives you four and a half months to finish this second baby...ready, set, go!"

The sun struck the orchids beside me and saturated my left hand with light as it skimmed along with my pen and I forgot about the fact that Migration Summer took me years to write and decided to jump right in with some bold trust in myself. Unlike so many revision-minded-writers, this creation phase--the blind stumbling along, the "without-a-net-tightrope-walking" stage, the "messy" unraveling of the narrative is my absolute favorite. I am moving right ahead with the work, grateful for the shelter this creativity provides for me from the difficulties of the rest of life. No matter what struggles I am facing, I can come back to the page again and again...and, by doing so, come back to the center of who I am.

"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."
--J.M. Barrie, writer and creator of Peter Pan--


Blogger Susannah said...

this post makes me feel so proud - that you are seen as writer is no surprise to me as i've seen you as a writer all along, but i know how the subtle changes can mean so much (i feel this way every time someone calls me a photographer). I can't wait for the day when i type your name into Amazon and order your book :-) sending love to you xo

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D, what a vibrant and exciting post this was to read. I love that you have so much creativity pouring from your soul, and it sounds like this is only the beginning of a very exciting year for you. Hugs to you! xoxo

3:52 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

and this is exactly how i've seen you all along too. dive on in, D. book two is going to be amazing.

6:20 AM  
Blogger daisies said...

this post fills me up with such joy, the vibrant happy that soaks through your words as a writer ... it is incredibly inspiring and i love watching from afar as you succeed down this journey of you, the writer and like susannah, i can't wait to purchase your book, read your words and hold them close to me ... xo

4:41 PM  
Blogger odessa said...

i like the idea of a "blind stumbling along" creative moment. its what i always look forward to all the time. thank you for this inspiring post.

2:30 AM  
Blogger January said...

Congratulations on your well-deserved sucess. From family to writing to finding balance, you seem to revel in even the smallest of moments! Simply amazing.


6:19 AM  
Blogger ...deb said...

I love readign yoru process, some of your thoughts. Thank you.

3:25 PM  
Blogger adi said...

last night i was watching this spanish movie with english subtitles, a line from a song from this movie still plays in my mind..."sea is measured in waves, and sky is measured in wings..."
your post reminded me of that Delia
thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

7:22 AM  
Blogger GreenishLady said...

I somehow missed the news of your fellowship award. Congratulations! This is a wonderful post - that you are more and more letting yourself BE the writer that you are, and valuing all the signs that others see it, too. That is wonderful. I've just had one of those weekends away with writers who affirm for one another our gift, and that is a marvellous experience too. I hope your retreat is as revivifying as mine was. Best of luck with the ongoing work.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I love those words at the end. Those are great.

I have missed you. I find myself thinking about your writing, and how it and everything is going. I keep meaning to send you an email. I am so happy for you! I am with Susannah, and I can't wait to have Migration Summer in my hands. :)

You always inspire me in this way, this relationship with words that you live.



11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time listener, first time caller.

I stumbled upon your page this morning after driving about Sussex county bathing in the light of the moon your friend Ryokan would have loved. Though I would trade a night like this to see his Niigatan counterpart. But I do ramble... As a writer I know the vast amount of work that goes into the work we do and I offer my congratulations to you on getting the award.


Tom Luffman

3:49 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

susannah: you *are* a photographer...a brilliant one, if that book ever gets ready for Amazon i may just have to fly you in from the U.K. to do my photo, what do you say?

luzie: thank you...this is a year of big changes and excitments (i have a feeling this is true for a lot of us).

vx: so glad to be seen by you--thanks for the kindness.

daisies: you already know your words mean so much to me...

odessa: the "blind stumbling along" seems to be the only way i know how to create, glad it resonated for you as well.

january: i don't know how well-balanced it is, sometimes not so much! But, reveling in the small moments? Always.

deb: i appreciate the chance to share that process...

adi: oh, how beautiful those lines are...

greenishlady: thank you...your writing shows you know all about gifts, i've enjoyed your book very much.

amber: i love the idea of living my life in "relationship with words"...

Tom: so glad you stumbled here--I love those "Ryokan nights" and appreciated your congratulations!


11:27 AM  
Blogger [a} said...

Awesome! Haven't been here for very long, but it's good to know how full of creativity you are at this point--i love your writing--can't wait for this book to come out :)

&: love that thought at the Gorgeous.

8:21 PM  

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